From Russia doping row to 'inedible' food: Controversies galore at Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

Updated: Feb 11, 2022, 03:50 PM(IST)

Winter Olympics 2022, which is underway in China, has been marred by controversies. Take a look here: 

Russia doping controversy

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics testers have confirmed on Friday (February 11) that Russian skating sensation Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned substance. 

The International Testing Agency (ITA) said in a statement that the case will be decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport before February 15, when Valieva is scheduled to take part in the individual event. 

Meanwhile, the chief of Russia's Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov told Russian media that he had "serious questions" over doping tests taken by Valieva. 

Pozdnyakov told the RIA Novosti news agency, "The timings of sample processing raise serious questions. It seems like someone held the sample until the end of the team skating tournament." 


Food controversy

Russia's biathlon competitor Valeria Vasnetsova said that the food served to athletes, who were tested positive for COVID-19 and stayed in quarantine, is 'inedible' and 'impossible' to eat. 

She took to her Instagram and shared a photo of the tray of food, which included plain pasta, a few potatoes, charred meat on a bone and an orange sauce. 

"My stomach hurts, I'm very pale and I have huge black circles around my eyes. I want all this to end. I cry every day. I'm very tired," Vasnetsova wrote on her Instagram. 

Later, the Russian biathlon team spokesperson Sergei Averyanov confirmed better food was served to her. 


Korean dress drama

China and South Korea have been embroiled in a cultural appropriation row after some South Koreans expressed frustration after seeing their traditional costume used in the opening ceremony of the event. Although, China has denied it. 

During the opening ceremony, a woman was spotted wearing what appeared to be a Korean hanbok dress among those representing China's different ethnic groups during the ceremony. 

However, in response to that, some South Koreans have raised their voices against the recent alleged Chinese narrative that various aspects of Korean culture are of Chinese origin. 


Mixing politics with sports

During the Olympic Torch Relay, a PLA soldier, who was involved in the border clash with India become the torchbearer.

As per a report by China’s Global Times, the soldier was been identified as Qi Fabao - a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiment commander.

The report stated that he was wounded during the skirmish with India at the Galwan Valley border. 


Athlete abuse

Winning and losing are two sides of any game, but some athletes faced criticism in China for poor performances. Zhu Yi, the figure skater who gave up American citizenship in 2018 to compete for China after she fell during her Olympic programmes, faced backlash. Soon after that the hashtag 'Zhu Yi has fallen' became the top trend on Weibo. 

To remove "illegal" chatter around and abuses towards athletes, social media giants in China including Weibo and Douyin have deleted tens of thousands of posts. 


Human rights violations

Some of the Western countries have accused China of 'egregious' human rights violations in the Xinjiang region against the Uyghur Muslims. 

The US imposed diplomatic sanctions on China after accusing it of mass detention, torture, forced labour and genocide in Xinjiang. 

After the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the event, other countries like Australia, the UK and Canada also confirmed that they will not send government officials to the Games. 


COVID-19 cases

The event has also been criticised because of rising COVID-19 cases in China. Athletes have also slammed the strict measures in China - a country known for its zero-Covid approach.  


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